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WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 04:36
by GliderRiderMedic
I happened to get my hands on a white uniform tunic (the "white dinner jacket" like the one seen here: ). I'll post a picture later.

Were there white uniform trousers to go with this? I've never seen mention of them, let alone found pictures of them. I know there was a white garrison cap made (based on Mr. Bando's comment on the page linked above) which I am going to try to get a repro made of since I've never come across one of the originals. The trousers though I have no clue about. Anyone have an answer for me?

Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:07
by Bob M
As displayed in the GI Collector's Guide page 27. By the Formal White Coat belongs a Formal White Trousers. Also you need an black tie and a white shirt and some low quarter shoes to complete the outfit.


Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:09
by Ben
Hi Steve,

I assume that you're referring to the Officer's Formal White Tunic, which was designated to be worn with black low quarter shoes. If we are indeed talking about the same item, there are formal trousers for wearing with the Coat. They are made of the same material, and the construction is similar to the Cotton Summer-Issue Trousers, except they have wider belt loops. If you have Henri-Paul Enjames' GI Collectors Guide (Volume 1), please see page 27.

However, as far as I understand it the "all white" uniform took a hiatus during WW2 and was reintroduced towards the end of the 1940s. It's interesting that Mark indicates that these were issued to Capt. Bucker in 1942. I could be wrong here though.

Kind regards,
Ben :D

Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:15
by Bob M
Ben wrote:...worn with black low quarter shoes.

GICG1 referres to white shoes? Maybe the book is incorrect? Never seen white low quarters before though...


Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:19
by Ben
Hi Bob,

GICG actually seems to contradict itself about this uniform. For example, the caption for the Trousers indicates that they are to be "worn with low quarter white leather shoes", but the caption for the black low quarter shoes listed indicates that they were recommended with the dress uniform. As far as I have been able to tell, the black shoes were more popular.


Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 17:26
by johan willaert
WOuldn't an WW2 era Officers' Guide be more accurate about this....?
Will try to check some later this coming week...

Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 18:29
by sgtpeter
I checked AR600-35 from Mar 1944 with changes thru Aug 1945 and there is no mention of a white dress uniform. It does mention OD service coat for winter and khaki service coat for summer for officers.

Shelby Stanton's Uniforms of World War II mentions two white uniforms, both of which were for officers and warrant officers only. The white mess jacket and black trousers were worn by officers and warrant officers in the tropics and optional for the US. The picture has no hat and doesn't mention shoes, but the shirt is a white tux shirt with gold studs and black bow tie. I also believe the coat would have been a waist coat and the ensemble would be very similar to what the Army had until last year.

The formal white service coat and trousers were for summer or tropical duty. I believe the pattern would be the same as the OD or Khaki service coat. From the photo captioned during 1944, a collared white shirt with black tie would have been worn but there is no mention of shoes. A white service hat with what is probably a black but could be brown bill is shown in the photo.

Stanton's book mentions the dress blue uniform was dropped after WW1 but reintroduced as optional in 1937. I suspect the formal white would have been the same.

In 1941, Life magazine did an article on new uniforms for the Army with color photos. I don't have the article but was able to find the color photos. There is no picture of the white uniform, assumingly because it is a formal uniform and the focus appears to be on field and service uniforms, but does include a photo of officer gloves and ties and shoes/boots.

Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 21:29
by GliderRiderMedic
Interesting. I guess I'll finally have a use for the USAF issue low quarters that I still have from my time in the service! :lol:

We have our books packed up for the most part because we're moving to a new apartment tomorrow, but once we get settled, I will take a look at the GI Collectors Guide.

Thank you all for your help.

Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 08:11
by PAdoc
You sure don't see many of these around anymore. Great find.
The officer's White Dress uniform was not required for any officer in the continental United States, but was listed as an optional tropica dress uniform. The 1942 Officer's Guide states that the Service Uniform is an appropriate dress uniform for all occasions up to and including social occasions at the White House.
As far as shoes, they were white, never black or brown. Enlisted sailors wore back shoes with whites, but never officers. Cap was the service cap with white cover. Very much like the Naval officers white cap. Trousers were just like the other officer's dress trousers except white material like the coat. Only thing black was the tie.
There are some great color photographs in the May 19, 1941 Life Magazine.
See here: ... &q&f=false

Re: WW2 Era White Uniform "Tunic"

Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 14:28
by Alain
Hi All,
Here follow some data based on the 1942 Officer's Guide:
The several Dress Uniforms consisted of: Full Dress - Blue Dress - Special Evening Dress - Blue Mess - White Dress - White Mess Uniforms.
The different WHITE DRESS parts and accessories are described as follows:
Cap, Dress, White (there was NO garrison cap or o'seas cap)
Shirt, White
Necktie, Dress, Black
Coat, Dress, White
Trousers, Dress, White
Socks, White
Shoes, White
Gloves, Dress, White
(Circular 75, WD, 1940 > the wearing of white dress uniforms is not required of Officers serving within the continental US, incl. Alaska. Officers are authorized to wear this uniform when of duty and after retreat under conditions often prescribed by local CO - Circulars 90 & 101, WD, 1943, authority withdrawn for the duration of the war + 6 months, but wear of the white dress uniform continues to be authorized as an option, under authority of local Commanders, and preferably in tropical climates)
P.S. designation as used by Mark B is not correct, this is a white dress coat, and NOT a dinner jacket)

Alain :idea: